PilieroMazza’s Cy Alba, a partner in the Government Contracts Group, discussed the Polaris government-wide acquisition contract with Federal News Network recently. His remarks came after the General Services Administration (GSA), which issued the solicitation, clarified that it would allow joint ventures to rely on the past performance and experience of a single member, including large business SBA-approved mentors, when evaluating the entire joint venture for award. This clarification to the solicitation gave some small businesses, especially those with little direct experience in the core IT areas covered by Polaris, greater opportunity to secure a position on the Best-in-Class (BIC) vehicle, which will last 10 years and carry a $10 billion ceiling. A week later, GSA issued the final solicitation for the first two pools under Polaris—for small businesses and women-owned small businesses—enshrining this change into the solicitation. Cy noted that SBA recently issued regulatory changes that encourage the use of joint ventures, including mentor protégé joint ventures, as a means of ensuring that small businesses have more contracting opportunities. The ability for small businesses to team together is nearly a necessity given the increasing use of large BIC vehicles created by the push to use category management and contract consolidation to reduce the administrative burden on contracting officers and maximize the federal government’s buying power. As Cy told Jason Miller in the article, “It’s clear the opportunities for joint ventures and mentor-protégé relationships are growing.” What is less clear is what will happen to small companies that are unable to be part of a mentor-protégé or joint venture relationship. Click here to read Cy’s comments in “Why GSA just made Polaris a no-win situation for many small firms.”